5 August 2012

Phill Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke at Jackson's Lane

It's that time of year when comics want to try out their Edinburgh shows which can mean cheap tickets for good comedy. And so I found myself back at Jacksons Lane to see the double bill of Phill Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke.

Marcus Brigstocke was the main draw for me as I have enjoyed seeing him live a few times, though not for four years apparently. Having Phill Jupitus on the bill too certainly made the decision to go much easier.

This was my fifth trip to Jackson's Lane and was my first conventional show there. It is good to have venues that are prepared to put on such a diverse range of shows. It is just a shame that they are on the other side of Town.

Marcus was trying out his Brig Society show and made no pretence of this being anything other than a work in progress by bringing the script on stage and leafing through it during the performance to decide which part to do next.

It was a fairly typical Brigstocke rant, or collection of rants, against the Government and it hit some easy targets.

The Big/Brig Society featured in the opening and closing sections and the middle was more commentary on other foolish aspects of modern life.

It was a very rough and ready show at the time and, judging my his tweets, it is just now settling down a couple of performances in to the Fringe run proper.

That's not to say that it was not funny because it certainly was, it is just that the delivery was broken and it did not flow naturally as a set. But that's why comedians do try-out shows.

In the last segment Marcus chose people from the audience to take leading positions in the Brig Society and sitting in the middle of the second row (the front row was too low) we were natural victims so Howard became head of Treasury and Richard head of Eduction. Last time we saw him me had a go at Howard's long hair and this time he picked on Richard's It's nice to keep things like that in the family.

A short beer break and then the second half with Phill Jupitus.

One the stage was a simple board announcing the name, title and dates of a dead U-Boat captain from WWII.

On walks Phill dressed nautically. He gives us a little spiel about himself, his brash wife who lives in the East End of London (the war made their relationship a little strained) and the efforts he went to to avoid sinking allied ships.

Then it was audience questions.

This was then all unscripted though some of the questions had probably been asked before, such as how he met his wife, and that allowed expansive and often surreal answers. From this we learn that he spent some of WWII hiding in Lulworth Cove and his favourite food was bagels with crab meat.

A quick costume change and he returned as the dead himself from the future and happy to answer any questions about the time from now until his death. Here the questions were less constrained and most of the answers were devised there and then, often causing Phill to snort a few laughs before he could bring himself to speak. We found his answers funny too.

In the final, brief, Q&A session with Phill as himself he explained that he was trying an unscripted routine simply because he was getting tired of writing jokes all the time, and with such a quick wit he does not need to.

The contrast between the two shows worked well too and it was another entertaining evening in Highgate.

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